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Funniest TV Characters of All Time

Shreyas Bhide
This Entertainment story documents 5 funniest male and female TV characters to have ever hit the small screen...
Sitcoms (situational comedies) have been a blessing to television viewers. For people who are turned off by lousy dramas and ever-dragging soap operas, sitcoms are the idiot box's sole saving grace. Ever since the advent of sitcoms in the early '50s, TV has witnessed several characters that have brought the house down with their dialog and antics.
While some of them have stayed in our minds for their insanely funny characterizations (Kramer, Dick Solomon), others have made a place for themselves on the basis of sheer brilliance of comic timing (Chandler Bing, Frank Barone).
Right through the TV's golden era to the new millennium, innumerable characters have become our favorites because we could identify with them.
These characters face the same issues as us, but they are our heroes in the sense that, unlike us, they handle those issues with wit and smile. Some stay in our mind longer than others, while some create a mark of their own even decades after the shows went off air.
Drawing up a list of the funniest TV characters of all time is a tough job... not because there are many, but because all of them are so good, and it is hard to choose one over the other. We attempt to pick 10 of the best TV has ever witnessed.

Funniest Male TV Characters


Played by: Michael Richards

"I'm at the corner of 1st and 1st ... how can the same street intersect with itself? I must be at the nexus of the universe."
Character: Stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld's whimsically erratic neighbor, Cosmo Kramer, was in his own words a hipster doofus! Intrusive, would be an understatement for Kramer, who at the drop of a hat would slide into Jerry's apartment.
Actor Michael Richards added so much physical humor to the character that by the show's second season, Kramer had invariably become the American comedy scene's pratfall hero.
From turning a bag of concrete upside down on himself, setting his own hair on fire, to falling and rolling off the subway to grab a seat, Kramer's physical eccentricities were a legend unto themselves when the show was on.
Trademarks: Who would want to miss out on 'the Kramer slide' while crashing open Jerry's door over and over again? The move had become so popular by the show's third season, that live audiences on the set would cheer actor Michael Richards to do it every time he was to enter Jerry's apartment.
Of course, a louder applause was reserved for when the actor actually did it. Kramer had a penchant for cigars and vintage clothing.
His comically upright hairstyle only added to the character's bizarre-ish demeanor. Kramer had a knack of winning money out of nowhere, and plenty of it. A milkshake lover and a cigar connoisseur, Kramer was terrified of mice and clowns.

"I love the name 'isosceles'. If I had a kid, I would name him Isosceles. Isosceles Kramer."


Played by: Matthew Perry

"Handle? I can handle this. Handle is my middle name. Well actually, it's the middle part of my first name."
Character: Chandler Muriel Bing, son of a novelist mother and a cross-dresser father, was the epitome of dry sarcasm through the '90s. Ross' high school friend and Joey's 'Naked Thursday' buddy, Chandler Bing was a kind soul marred by the insecurities he developed during his parents' early divorce.
By his own admission, he used humor as a defense mechanism to protect himself against embarrassing and awkward situations. In Monica Geller, the man-child inside Chandler found the perfect foil to create the balance needed to succeed as a couple.
Chandler often made statements and adapted tones while speaking, that gave off the signals that he may be gay, although he was at his wits end trying to clarify that he was actually not. His emotional dis-involvement with others extended to the extent that no one (not even his close friends) knew what he did for a living.
Trademarks: Chandler hated Thanksgiving - to the extent that he never even ate Turkey. In the initial seasons, the character is shown to have had a third nipple, which for a brief period became the rest of the character's butt of jokes. A known commitment-phoebe, Chandler came to terms with the joys of family life only after he started dating Monica.
One of the character's most famous idiosyncrasies included his emphasis on the wrong words while speaking sentences. Chandler Bing's weird dance movements had been evident throughout the show.

"Look at all the space on her side of the bed. You could fit a giant penguin over there. That's be weird though."

FRANK BARONE (Everybody Loves Raymond)

Played by: Peter Boyle

"Zero serving zero. Ray can kiss my rearo!"
Character: The grouchy, stern and crude, but lovable grandpa on the couch, Frank Barone brought so much pun to the table, that one would almost want to live a life like his - eat delicious food cooked by the wife, have pool baths with the buddies, taunt the kids and watch TV the rest of the day with pants unbuckled for comfort.
The only problem is, not all of us can be Frank Barone. Frank was one of his kind. A grandfather yet to get out of his own child skin. Reluctant to participate as a father in his children's growing up years, Frank had an emotional disconnect with virtually every member of the family.
Frank believed in using puns to counter insults, and was one of the few characters on television, who instead of physical or intellectual comedy, relied on reactionary punches to garner the laughs.
Trademarks: HOLY CRAP! Peter Boyle, as Frank Barone must have mouthed the phrase so many times on the show (almost 5 times per episode), yet, the timing carried such perfection, that it would have you in splits every single time.
Amongst others of Frank Barone's 'crudish' habits, included being borderline racist, homophobic, and calling his sons Nancy or Shirley.
He lay special emphasis on masculinity, and wished his sons would be like that too, only to regret that they instead took on their mother in terms of behavior. Frank was known to be a Debra-sympathizer, especially when she was at the harsh end of her mother-in-law's (Frank's wife's) taunts.
Lacking in any emotional involvement, Frank admitted he was putting up with his wife only for the food. Throughout the nine seasons, Frank is established to be a problematic driver, to the extent that he almost gets ticketed by his own son who is a cop.

"If I scratch it, it's because it itches!"


Played by: Steve Carell

"If I had a gun, with two bullets, and I was in a room with Hitler, Bin Laden and Toby, I would shoot Toby twice."
Character: The Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Inc., Michael claims to have English, Irish, German, and Scottish origins... something which he claimed, made him virtually like America. Obviously the wrong choice as the manager, Michael believed in having fun at work to increase productivity and cultivate better work culture.
Slightly self-centered and attention-seeking, Michael kept himself immune to criticism and sarcasm around him. He himself though, threw a lot of it at his peers, unintentionally ending up hurting them.
A little on the dull side when it came to putting common sense to use, Michael sometimes did not realize he is being mocked at, but when he did, he over-reacted.
Trademarks: Michael was a stupendous salesman, as has been talked of plenty of times throughout the series. A Meryl Streep fan and an ice hockey expert, he had a nasty habit of unknowingly cracking vulgar jokes, specially with female colleagues. His that's what she said had been the source of offense for many.
Michael had a vast knowledge of how the paper and stationery industry worked. That, coupled with his ability to be buddies with his juniors, more than made up for his lackluster managerial skills.

"You may look around and see two groups here: white collar, blue collar. But I don't see it that way, and you know why not? Because I am collar-blind."

CHARLIE HARPER (Two and a Half Men)

Played by: Charlie Sheen

"Nighttime cold medicine and Scotch. I call it the "Drunken Hulk."
Character: Two and a Half Men has never been the same ever since Sheen left. Charlie Harper's death has created a void in the show, that nothing, not even Ashton Kutcher and a cameo by Miley Cyrus has been able to fill. Charlie Harper was by far the most ruthless, selfish, and debaucherous man to have appeared in American sitcoms.
His liking for women and booze bordered on the obsessive, and his dislike of his brother staying in his house was evident throughout the first eight seasons. Charlie's problems were further compounded by the fact that his brother's annoyingly dumb kid would spend the weekend at his ocean-front Malibu beach house.
Owing to his profession as a composer and jingle writer, the man was known to own a bevy of cars, including a Jaguar, a Ferrari, and a Mercedes.
Trademarks: Charlie Harper loved his booze and babes. A cigar fanatic, his troubled childhood had caused him to suffer from many phobias, notably the ones against commitment, spiders, large birds, germs, bacteria, and hard work.
It was evident throughout the series that Charlie hated his mother, and made his best attempt to run away from her or shy away from any parental intimacy.
A notable feature about Charlie, had been his love for his brother Alan, despite the fact that he disliked him staying at his place. Charlie hit upon a great buddy relationship with his nephew Jake, and had been the fun uncle since Season 1. Charlie's fluctuation of feelings for his stalker Rose, were also worth noting.
"He's an alcoholic with a lot of money. There's nothing you can do about people like that. The best you can do is be nice to them so you can inherit their house when they crap out their liver."

Funniest Female TV Characters

LIZ LEMON (30 Rock)

Played by: Tina Fey

"Jack Donaghy is gonna kill me and then he's gonna kill you and then he's gonna fold us up in a pizza and eat us."
Character: An Obama supporter and a hardcore liberal, Liz Lemon was a live wire wrapped in a blanket of self-pity. One of the rare women who took no interest in fashion, Liz was socially inept, who used satire as a rescue option when she was stuck in awkward situations. In her own words, she was allergic to everything that was warm or adorable.
On many levels, Liz Lemon was the female version of Chandler Bing, only that she was more firm and level-headed in tense situations.

Trademarks: A Star Wars fanatic and a junk food addict, Liz Lemon almost compulsively never exposed her feet to others.
Tina Fey had given the character some incredible catch-phrases, some of them being, blërg!, what the what, son of a mother and nertz. And who can forget Liz's 'by the hammer of Thor' when Floyd failed to grab an apartment in the first season.
To describe Liz perfectly, Jack Donaghy's words would be apt: New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says 'healthy body image' on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for a week.
"Lovers. Oh, that word bums me out unless it's between meat and pizza."


Played by: Lisa Kudrow

"Your tombstone can say whatever you want it to say! It could say, 'Ross Geller: Good at marriage!' You know? Mine's going to say, 'Phoebe Buffay: Buried alive.'
Character: The most disturbed of the six friends, Phoebe had a terrible childhood. Her father abandoned her family, her mother committed suicide, and she spent quite a few years living on the streets. That though, did not stop Phoebe from putting it all behind and starting life anew.
Phoebe still retained the street personality in some situations, to the displeasure of her friends. A singer who carried her guitar everywhere with her, Phoebe had a weird personality which reflected in the songs she wrote and composed.
Perhaps, the most irritated of the Friends lot by Monica's compulsively controlling attitude, Phoebe, once Monica's roommate, later avoided every instance of having to stay with her.
Trademarks: Evidently tone-deaf, Phoebe resorted to screaming or yelling in public places. Probably the oldest and mature of the group, Phoebe had no college education, and that reflected in her sometimes. Highly idealistic in her approach, Phoebe called herself a good soul.
One of the show's running gags was Phoebe's use of an alternate personality called Regina Phalange, which she used in certain situations. Phoebe had a twin sister, Ursula, whom she highly disliked, and made it evident in every possible way.

"A house for dolls. That is so cool! When I was a kid I had a barrel."


Played by: Lucille Ball

"Ever since we said 'I do', there have been so many things that we don't."
Character: Easily one of the pioneering female characters to set the tone for self-assured and funny women to come on television, Lucy was a celeb-nut. That her husband was a known name in Hollywood, further worsened it. Known for having ill-famed run-ins with Hollywood stars, Lucy was a bad money manager, and had her shot at celeb-dom more than once.
Trademarks: The redheaded wife of Ricky Ricardo, loved playing saxophone as a child, something she missed as a married adult. A pro at ukulele, Lucy was bad with finances, which invariably led her to trick Ricky into giving her more money.
Lucy hated to reveal her real age, and gave her husband a hard time through all the weird things she did. One of Lucy's strongest pillars of strength was her best friend, Ethel.

"Something's wrong with the gas. My chicken isn't working."

MURPHY BROWN (Murphy Brown)

Played by: Candice Bergen

"I was waiting for the universe to dispense some justice but sometimes the universe is just too damn slow."
Character: Murphy was considered one of the boys. she was pretty much a boy amongst all the boys! A recovering (and not a successful one) alcoholic, and an occasional smoker, Murphy had broken all boundaries of gender bias to make it to the top. She was also one of TV's first single mother.
A little naive in personal life but unsympathetic in professional, Murphy Brown was a ground-breaking character for American TV in many ways.

Trademarks: Murphy was a recovering alcoholic. She was brutally honest and straightforward in her demeanor. By her own admission, the only bad habit she ever had was chewing on yellow number-two pencils.
Perennially troubled with outrageous nutcases showing up as her secretaries, towards the end of the series, Murphy's character successfully battled breast cancer. This further emphasized on the character's never-say-die spirit.
"Well I can't take ANYTHING you say seriously with that stupid accent. You sound like you should be 'plottink beg trabble for moose and skvirrel!'"

CHRISTINE CAMPBELL (The New Adventures of Old Christine)

Played by: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

"Do you ever let your armpit hair grow, just to see how long it can get?"
Character: Neurotic is only how you begin describing Christine Campbell. The divorced mother of one was portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who despite being on one of America's funniest TV shows ever (Seinfeld), barely got any chance to display her funny side. The New Adventures of Old Christine gave her exactly that opportunity.
Portraying a middle-class mother who wished to give her son a better upbringing, Louis-Dreyfus' Christine became the butt of jokes of all the rich housewife moms at her son's school. A blend of selfishness and over-competitiveness, Christine carried heavy emotional baggage, whose presence she herself was unable to recognize.
Trademarks: Horribly self-centered, Christine was the epitome of selfishness. She frequently suffered from bouts of forgetfulness, especially forgetting her son's whereabouts. A wannabe politically- and socially-correct liberal, Christine always ended up on the other side - offending someone.
A running joke throughout the series on the same theme was Christine wanting to be sympathetic and supportive of her Bahamian friend Barbara, but ending up making racially inappropriate statements.
Another running gag throughout its run was Christine's brother making fun of her age - which Christine hated to reveal to anyone.

"You smell like chocolate. Is that racist?"
Their puns, their whimsies, and their outlandish guises, bring the house down. Countless funny men and women have made us roll with laughter since the '50s, when sitcoms started taking shape. In fact, they still make us laugh and roll viz. Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory), Gloria (Modern Family), or even Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation).
It is hard to imagine American TV without Seinfeld, Friends, The Jeffersons, The Cosby Show, etc. These shows have contributed immensely to the country's pop culture. Many others will continue to do so in the years to come. Hurray to the ones who have been, hurray to the ones to come!